Our History

The AVCS History

The Almaden Valley Youth Counseling Service (AVYCS) was founded in 1980 based on a community concern that adequate counseling services were not available for youth of the community. This was in large part due to the withdrawal of school counselors on school campuses due to Proposition 13 but the final impetus was two tragic teen suicides.

AVYCS opened its doors in the basement of Joint Ventures Church with a part-time director/counselor, moving to its current office location on Crown Boulevard in 1985. In 1999, AVYCS changed its name to Almaden Valley Counseling Service (AVCS). To date, nine directors have followed serving youth, adults, families, and couples by providing counseling and support for high-risk kids and teens, strengthening families, parenting classes, couples in crisis, on-site school-based therapy (in over 40 schools), older adults with loss, and other mental health needs.

Many AVCS counselors have a Master’s Degree in Counseling or Clinical Psychology and are pursuing their hours toward licensure as Marriage and Family Therapists through the AVCS associateship training program. Other AVCS counselors are trainees who are providing services with us in order to complete their Master’s Degree in Counseling or Clinical Psychology. The supervised clinical experience that both types of counselors need to complete the state-mandated licensor requirements is provided by AVCS. Recently rental space has been opened up to licensed therapists for their individual practices at the AVCS offices.

In the earlier years, much fundraising was done by the Auxiliary along with grants received from Almaden Valley Women’s Club, IBM, Santa Clara County Dept. of Social Services, Xilinx, El Camino Health, Kaiser Permanente, Sharks Foundation, and Cisco to support AVCS and its growth in providing mental health service to the community. The Auxiliary’s fundraising played a big part in earlier years not only to provide operating funds for the agency but to bring the community together through the Snow Ball fashion show luncheon, dinner and tea, the Almaden Times Classic 5k and 10k run, Home for he Holidays home tour, and Santa’s Breakfast. Today most funding is provided through school counseling contracts, client fees, grants from corporations, foundations, and other organizations, and individual donations as AVCS serves hundreds of students, individuals, families, and couples throughout Santa Clara County.

Our original mission was to provide counseling services, free of charge, to residents of Almaden Valley. Currently, there are no geographical boundaries and a sliding fee scale ($35-$95) was developed with our mission to provide affordable services to ALL ages ~ to support and promote personal growth, positive family relationships, and emotional well-being.

“If you have not heard of Almaden Valley Counseling Service please look them up. They have been quietly helping youth and families with mental health and social issues for 35 years. This great nonprofit spends their dollars wisely and helps over 1800 youth and families annually. It was my honor to recognize their work today.”
–Johnny Khamis, San Jose City Councilmember (2015)

Year Overview Budget Board Chair
2022 COC services continue on site at schools. Student mental health adversely affected by pandemic, and schools requested more counseling days.
AVCS clinic services offered both in-person and via telehealth
2021 8/20 through 6/21 schools offered remote learning. All COC services provided via telehealth.
8/21 schools returned to education on site. COC services offered on site at schools.
AVCS clinic services offered via telehealth until 11/21, when in-person services resumed. Telehealth continued as an option.
2020 Responded quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic by connecting with clients, schools, and students to continue counseling through telehealth sessions
Katy Carter retires from AVCS and Kathy Diangson, LMFT becomes interim executive director with new director Michelle Humke, CSJ, LMFT hired in August
$911,000 Caryn Fabian
2019 Provided over 650 hours/week of counseling in 40 schools and 250 hours of parenting support to families
Served more than 3,000 clients in the clinic and Counseling on Campus (COC) Program
2018 Served 45 schools in 7 districts
Staff of 40 associate therapists, 10 supervisors, and 6 office support
Provided school support and training in dealing with cyber-bullying, sexting, and depression
2017 Over 30,000 counseling hours were provided by more than 42 interns and 12 supervisors
540 hours/week for COC Program and 125 hours/week for clinic counseling
Top services addressed high-risk kids and teens, and strengthening families
2016 Over 40 schools contracted for COC $774,625
2015 Received commendation from San Jose City Council for 35 years of community service
Workshops for high schools given on suicidality
Served close to 2000 clients in COC Program and Clinic
2014 Agency switches to electronic health records platform
Treatment rooms refurbished reflecting AVCS’ commitment to growth
1,098 clients served in COC Program and Clinic
2013 564 COC students served $438,000 Jayne Kwon
2012 Dept. of Social Services, SCC grant received $417,750 Christian Nielsen
2011 More schools added to COC Program $380,851
2010 Broomstick Ball is held with AVCS as a grant recipient $340,988 Brendan Coveney
2009 Received first COC school district contract from SJUSD
376 Clinic clients receive 4084 sessions hours, 326 COC students served
2008 521 Clinic clients and 426 COC students served
Rocki Kramer retires and Katy Carter becomes the new executive director
$305,657 Robin Root
2007 At this time, AVCS has served over 10,000 clients with 146 interns working in our programs
499 Clinic and COC clients served
Clinic clients receive 4,114 session hours
$367,062 Jerri Kazmierczak
2006 178 Clinic clients and 381 COC students served $321,011 Adron Beeney
2005 Sliding scale fees are now $20 – $75/hour
21 schools in COC Program with 682 students seen for a total of 3,433 sessions
Staff includes 25 interns, 10 supervisors, 8 licensed therapists
$316,540 Steve Kitrosser
2004 876 clients receive 7500 hours of clinical service
330 COC students seen for a total of 2,298 visits
Staff of 24 interns, 10 supervisors
Counseling also offered in Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Vietnamese and French
Gwen Hacker
2003 Participated in Westfield Tile Project
554 clients receive 3731 hours of clinical service
37% of clients pay lowest fee
$234,579 Elena Agostino
2002 Home for the Holidays home tour event is held
Brownstone Foundation underwrites Santa’s Breakfast
Staff of 21 interns, 11 supervisors, 9 licensed therapists
2001 Geriatric Advisory program (GAP) developed by Cathleen Starr
Staff of 19 interns, 8 supervisors, 9 licensed therapists
$202,708 Matt Giampaoli
2000 20th Anniversary Celebration
12 Schools in COC program
32% of Clients pay lowest fee of $15
$195,495 Marjorie Rasmussen
1999 Name changes to Almaden Valley Counseling Service (AVCS)
522 clients receive 2843 hours of clinical service
482 students seen in COC program
Staff of 16 interns, 7 supervisors, 8 licensed therapists
3 new offices added
$185,734 John Redding
1998 Website developed
Forum held on Alcohol Awareness
12 schools in COC Program
1997 Snow Ball is now biannual event
Offices are remodeled and updated
Interns who become licensed continue their practice at AVYCS
$168,000 Marc Buller
1996 Community forum is Hanging Out and No Place to Go, Teen Loitering
Graystone, Terrell, Randol and Williams Elementary Schools join the COC Program
1995 Community forum is a Parent/Youth Seminar
Simonds Elementary is added to COC Program
$154,000 Donna Dawson
1994 Community forum on Teenage Parties
A sponsor of the Almaden Times Classic 10K/2Mile Run-Walk
539 clients receive 3,121 hours of clinical service
510 students seen in COC Program
Lisa Chaney
1993 Community forums on Gang Awareness and Teen Violence
Minimum fee increased to $10 per session
10th Snow Ball event is held
Staff grows to 18 interns, 4 supervisors and 4 part-time office support
David Byers
1992 Expansion of offices to include a family therapy room and a children’s art/sand tray therapy room
Seven schools in COC Program
443 students seen for a total of 1,263 visits
470 clients receive 2,548 hours of clinical service
Jackie Whitlock
1991 407 COC students servedSmokeless Saturday School, smoking cessation classes start
Willow Glen Education Park joins the COC Program
Staff includes 12 intern clinicians
Barbara Anderson
1990 10th Anniversary Celebration
First Home for the Holidays home tour is held
Maximum fee for service is $50 per session
$122,600 Sheryl Stroh
1989 296 students seen through the COC Program
445 clients receive clinic service
Rocki Kramer becomes the executive director
Linda Neilsson
1988 Grant from IBM purchases a computer for the office staff
Fee structure changes to sliding scale from $10-$40/session
Pam Darin
1987 Castillero, Steinbeck and John Muir Middle Schools join COC Program
Parent education classes are instituted
Sally Tillmans
1986 Gunderson High School joins the COC Program Art Darin
1985 Facility moves office to Crown Boulevard
Peer Facilitator Program begins at Leland High School
Services extended to outside 95120 zip code
$50,000 Rich Crowley
1984 AVYCS is officially incorporated
Counselor on Campus (COC) Program begins at Leland and Pioneer High Schools
Auxiliary is formed and first Snow Ball fundraiser event is held
Dee Eberle
1983 Staff has grown to 4 interns and a consultant supervisor
Fees increased to $10/session
Sandy Engel
1982 501(c)3 non-profit status is granted and first intern clinician begins
A fee of $5 per session is instituted
Guy Miller
1981 Funding received from the Almaden Valley Women’s Club
A one-room office is rented
Pat Dando
1980 AVYCS is formed under the direction of Bob Martin and members of Joint Venture Churches
Mission is to offer counseling services, free of charge for residents of 95120
Temporary director is Don Smith
$6,689 Bob Martin